Plans to build a roundabout at River and Rosendale roads in Niskayuna and improve intersections and bike trails in Saratoga County moved closer to reality on Thursday.
The new roundabout could be built as soon as the 2018-19 construction season, based on the state Legislature having included $2 million in funding in this year's state budget. On Thursday, it was added to a regional construction priority list by the Capital District Transportation Committee, which manages transportation spending in the Capital Region.
River Road is known for its congestion, especially in the evening when the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory and General Electric Global Research shifts both end, releasing thousands of workers. At 5 p.m. Thursday, a Gazette reporter observed the backup on River Road to be about three-quarters of a mile long.
"There's congestion there on a daily basis and right now there's only a stop sign," said Niskayuna Supervisor Joe Landry. "This would give us a roundabout."
The schedule approved Thursday at a meeting in Colonie calls for spending about $500,000 on design, right of way and other costs this year and next, with construction, at an estimated cost of $1.45 million, in either 2018 or 2019.
State Department of Transportation figures show more than 10,000 vehicles per day use the intersection.
In Halfmoon, construction in 2018-19 is also the goal for a $1.8 million project to improve Sitterly Road where it meets Woodin Road and Crossings Boulevard, adding both right- and left-hand turn lanes. More than 10,000 vehicles per day use the two intersections, which are only a short distance apart near the Clifton Park/Halfmoon town line.
"It's been long-needed and it's been long-planned," said Halfmoon Town Supervisor Kevin Tollisen.
The transportation planners also gave the go-ahead for construction of a three-mile section of Saratoga County's Zim Smith recreation trail from Coons Crossing in Halfmoon into Mechanicville. That work is scheduled for this year.
In Saratoga Springs, the committee approved work on the Greenbelt Downtown Trail Connector, which received a $1.53 million state grant in April.
The 1.66-mile trail will run from Excelsior Avenue into the downtown area. City officials said it will eventually be part of bicycle trail looping around the entire city,
The committee also approved a roughly $1 million project that will close a one-mile gap in the town of Clifton Park's off-road trail system, between an elementary school on Crescent Road and where the path starts on Moe Road.
The projects were all added to the five-year regional transportation improvement plan, which sets priorities for federal, and to some extent state, transportation spending in Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga and Rensselaer counties. Most of the money for the projects approved Thursday is coming through the federal government.